Beijing Hotels , Flights and Travel Packages

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Beijin Travel Guide : Beijing Tours & Travel Services : Hotels Best Deals & Discounts : Low Cost Flights : Affordable Travel & Holidays Packages : 

Beijing (北京 Běijīng) is the capital of the most populous country in the world, the People's Republic of China, and also its second largest city after Shanghai. It was also the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911. Beijing is the political, educational and cultural centre of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions. The city is well known for its flatness and regular construction. There are only three hills to be found in the city limits (in Jingshan Park to the north of the famous Forbidden City). Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing has concentric "ring roads", which are actually rectangular, that go around the metropolis.

Beijing Districts : Beijing has a total of 16 districts and 2 counties.

Central districts and inner suburbs: The four central districts are located within or just beyond Ring Road Two. This is the location of the old walled city of Beijing and is where you will find most of the sights and also a good deal of sleeping, eating and drinking and entertainment options. The districts are:

Xicheng District (西城区; Xīchéngqū)  : covering the north western part of the central city area to just beyond ring two in the west and up to ring three to the north. Includes Beihai Park, the Houhai area, Beijing Zoo and National Concert Hall

Dongcheng District (东城区; Dōngchéngqū)  : covering the north eastern part of the central city area approximately up to ring three to the north and ring two to the east. Includes the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Beijing Central Station

Xuanwu District (宣武区; Xuānwǔqū)  : covering the south western part of the central city area to just beyond ring two to the west and up to ring two to the south

Chongwen District (崇文区; Chóngwénqū)  : covering the south eastern part of the central city area to just beyond ring two to the south and up to ring two to the east. Includes the Temple of Heaven

The next four districts are also fairly close to the centre. They are often referred to as the inner suburbs. This is were you will find parts of the Western Hills, universities, Olympic venues, business and embassy areas, entertainment and bars as well as art districts. The districts are:

Shijingshan District (石景山区; Shíjǐngshānqū)  : covering the area just west of the central city area. Includes parts of the Western Hills

Haidian District (海淀区; Hǎidiànqū)  : covering the northwest of the main urban area. About half of Haidian district is made up of the Zhongguancun high technology industry and business cluster and Beijing's major concentration of universities. Includes the Summer Palace

Chaoyang District (朝阳区; Cháoyángqū)  : covering a large area just east (and stretching both north and south) of the central city area stretching from ring two until beyond ring five to the east. Including CBD, the embassy area, Sanlitun, National Stadium (and other Olympic venues), Workers Stadium, Chaoyang Park and Ritan Park

Fengtai District (丰台区; Fēngtáiqū) : covering the area south end west of Beijing. Includes Beijing West Railway Station

Rural Beijing and outer suburbs : The remaining ten districts and counties are quite far from the centre. :  Tongzhou District (通州区; Tōngzhōuqū)  - Northern suburbs (Changping, Shunyi)  - Western and souther suburbs (Mentougou, Fangshan, Daxing ) - Rural Beijing (Yanqing, Huairou, Miyun, Pinggu) .

Landmarks : The centre of the city and most important landmark is Tiananmen Square in Dongcheng District. This is the world's largest public square and a must see for all visitors from abroad and from elsewhere in China. The square is surrounded by grand buildings including the Great Hall of the People, the Museum of Chinese History, the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, the Qianmen Gate and the Forbidden City. It is also home to the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Monument to the People's Martyrs.

The National Stadium or Bird's Nest in Chaoyang District is a new major landmark and the symbol of the 2008 Olympic Games. Two contemporary buildings in Chaoyang District are remarkable landmarks: the CCTV Building (sometimes called The Underpants or Bird Legs by locals) and the World Trade Center Tower III. Both are outstanding examples of contemporary architecture. There are also a number of remarkable remains from the medieval city including the Ming Dynasty City Wall Site Park (the only remains of the city wall) in Chongwen District, the Drum and Bell Towers in Dongcheng District, and Qianmen in Chongwen District.

Palaces, temples and parks : The city's many green oases are a wonderful break from walking along the never ending boulevards and narrow hutongs. Locals similarly flock to Beijing's palaces, temples and parks whenever they have time. The green areas are not only used for relaxing but also for sports, dancing, singing and general recreation.

The most important palace, bar none, is the Forbidden city (故宫博物院) in Dongcheng District. The Forbidden City was home to the Imperial Court during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Unlike many other historical sights, the Forbidden City was relatively untouched during the cultural revolution due to the timely intervention of premier Zhou Enlai, who sent his troops to guard the palace from the over-zealous Red Guards. The Temple of Heaven (天坛) in Chongwen District is the symbol of Beijing and is surrounded by a lively park typically packed with hordes of local people drinking tea, practicing calligraphy or tai-chi or just watching the world go by. The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) (雍和宫) in Dongcheng District is one of the most important and beautiful temples in the country.

Other parks are scattered around Beijing. Some of the best are Zhongshan Park (中山公园) in Xicheng District, Beihai Park (北海公园) in Xicheng District, Chaoyang Park (朝阳公园) in Chaoyang District and Ritan Park (日坛公园) in Chaoyang District. The Beijing Zoo (北京动物园) in Xicheng District is famous for its traditional landscaping and giant pandas, however like many zoos, the conditions for the animals have been questioned. Haidian District is home to the Summer palace (颐和园), the ruins of the Old Summer Palace (圆明园), Fragrant Hills (香山), and the Beijing Botanical Garden (北京植物园). All are quite close together and worth a visit.

Museums and galleries  : The museums in Beijing are generally not yet up to the standard seen in cities such as Paris, Rome and New York. However the city contains one of the largest and most well known museums in Asia, the Palace Museum also known as the Forbidden City. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. China's government is determined to change the backward perception of its museums and has invested heavily in their development. It has also made most of them (not the Forbidden City) free to visit. However, for some museums tickets must be reserved three days in advance.  One of the most well-known museums in Beijing is the National Museum (国家博物馆) in Dongcheng District, which has been closed for renovation since 2007 and is expected to reopen in 2010. The Military Museum (军事博物馆) in Haidian District has long been a favorite with domestic and foreign tourists. The Capital Museum (首都博物馆) in Xicheng District is a new high profile museum with historical and art exhibitions. Finally, a number of restored former residences of famous Beijingers, especially in Xicheng District, give a good insight into daily life in former times.  The contemporary art scene in Beijing is booming and a large number of artists exhibit and sell their art in galleries around the city. The galleries are concentrated in a number of art districts, including the oldest and easiest accessible, but also increasingly commercial and mainstream, Dashanzi Art District in Chaoyang District. Other newer and perhaps more cutting edge art districts include Caochangdi in Chaoyang District and Songzhuan Artist's Village in Tongzhou District.

The Great Wall of China (长城 Chángchéng) about a 1 hour train trip or 1.5 hour bus ride from the city (be aware of bus scams). See Great Wall for general information on the Great Wall and see the suburb article for individual listings. The Badaling section is the most famous, but also over-restored and crowded. Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng and Simatai are more distant but offer a better view of the wall away from the crowds. Mutianyu has been restored, but is far less crowded than Badaling. Crowds are a definite issue with the Great Wall: at popular sections at popular times, it becomes not the Great Wall of China, but rather the Great Wall of Tourists. It is possible to rent a taxi for the round trip . You may want to bring a jacket against the wind or cold in the chillier season - in the summer you will need lots of water, and it will be cheaper if you bring your own.

Hutongs 胡同 Hútòng Beijing's ancient alleyways, where you can find traditional Beijing architecture. They date back to when Beijing was the capitol of the Yuan dynasty (1266-1368). Most buildings in hutongs are made in the traditional courtyard (四合院 ''sìhéyuàn'') style. Many of these courtyard homes were originally occupied by aristocrats, though after the Communist takeover in 1949 the aristocrats were pushed out and replaced with poor families. Hutongs can still be found throughout the area within the 2nd Ring Road, though many are being demolished to make way for new buildings and wider roads. Most popular among tourists are the hutongs near Qianmen and Houhai. The hutongs may at first feel intimidating to travellers used to the new wide streets of Beijing, but the locals are very friendly and will often try to help you if you look lost. Rent a bicycle : Traverse some of the remaining hutongs. There is no better way to see[Beijing firsthand than on a bicycle but just be very aware of cars (Chinese driving styles may differ from those you are used to).

National Centre for the Performing Arts in Xicheng District was finalised in 2007 and finally gave Beijing a modern theater complex covering opera, music and theater. This is worth a visit even if you do not go to a performance.

The Beijing Opera is considered the most famous of all the traditional opera performed around China. This kind of opera is nothing like western opera with costumes, singing style, music and spectator reactions being distinctly Chinese. The plot is usually quite simple, so you might be able to understand some of what happens even if you do not understand the language. Some of the best places to watch Beijing Opera are found in Xuanwu District including Huguang Huguang Theatre and Lao She Teahouse. There are also a number in Dongcheng District including Chang'an Grand Theatre.

Acrobatics shows are also worth a visit if you want to see some traditional Chinese entertainment. Some of the best shows are found in Tianqiao Acrobatics Theatre in Xuanwu District and in Chaoyang Theatre in Chaoyang District.

Drama plays has had a slow start in Beijing and is still not as widespread as you might expect for a city like Beijing, and you will most likely not be able to find many Western plays. However, some good places for contemporary Chinese plays do exist including Capital Theatre in Dongcheng District and Century Theater in Chaoyang District.

Classical music has got a much stronger foothold in Beijing than drama plays. Some of the best places to go are the National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Century Theater both mentioned above as well as Beijing Concert Hall in Xicheng District.

Beijing Flights & Airports : Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is located to the northeast of the central districts, 26 km from the city centreand is used by all major airlines . Nanyuan Airport ( NAY) is a former military airfield 17 km to the south of Beijing, currently used only by army-linked low-cost operator China United . China United currently fields daily flights to Harbin, Dalian, Sanya, Chongqing, Chengdu, and Wuxi. Free shuttle buses run from China United's ticket office to and from the Xidan Aviation Building .

Summit Tours offers travellers intrested in Beijing plenty of travel options and Travel Services Including Holidays Packages , wide range of Best Hotels offers and discounts , Return Flights to and from : Beijing Capital International Airport . Our Holidays Pakages Include Beijing Culture & Classic Tours - Beijing Christmas & New Year Tours - Beijing City Tours - Beijing Holidays Packages .
 

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